Breaking Ground (ZR)

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zoe_robert_dlWhen Reykjavík City advertized that 300 vegetable gardens would be rented out in Reykjavík and Mosfellsbær, I jumped at the chance to apply.

For a sum of ISK 5,600 (USD 48, EUR 36), I can have my very own veggie plot from late May through September.

The gardens are located in the Reykjavík suburbs of Breiðholt, Árbær, Vesturbær, Fossvogur, Laugardalur and Grafarvogur are a convenient size, 20m2, while those in Skammadalur in Mossfellsbær are a whopping 100m2.

Now comes the fun part, figuring out what to sow.

Root vegetables like carrots, rutabaga, turnips and beetroot apparently grow well, as do greens like broccoli, Swiss chard—and my favorite, kale.

Then there is rhubarb, easy to grow and a great ingredient or addition in so many foods. The wondrous plant can be used in cakes, jams, sauces and juices. Flowers and herbs, like mint and thyme, are also a good option, I hear.

Before breaking ground, I’ll have to visit the local library to pick up some books on gardening in cold climates.

The Horticultural Society of Iceland also runs courses for gardening novices like myself.

It’s been a slow start to the summer, which officially commenced on April 25. But things are looking up now with a balmy 8ºC (46.4ºF) in Reykjavík today and 9ºC (48.2ºF) for tomorrow’s public holiday. 

But, with an average high of just 13ºC (55.4ºF) from June to August, there’s always the threat of a frost in mid-summer. That’s not a problem for frost resistant crops like turnips but not so good news for plants like basil or strawberries.

Here's to a (hopefully) happy gardening season in Reykjavík!

Zoë Robert – zoe@icelandreview.com

Views expressed here are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Iceland Review.